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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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McCullers develops the character of John Singer with much greater depth in this chapter, almost the exact center of the novel. Thus far, the reader has a clear idea of Singerís adoration of his friend Spiros Antonapoulos, but the focus of the novel has been more from the point of view of the four figures who project their own needs for love and understanding onto Singer. What Singer has thought of them has been largely left to conjecture. Here, we find out that Singer is quite preoccupied with the feelings of these four people, but only in a curious, distanced sort of way. Of Jake Blount, for instance, he writes to Spiros, "He thinks he and I have a secret together but I do not know what it is." The effect of the delay in giving his point of view and then showing that he feels a little bewildered by all these lonely hearts is almost comic. They have made an all-knowing, all-understanding idol of him, and, in fact, he knows very little.

A second aspect of his character developed here is his fastidious sense that it is every personís obligation to care for others, especially to take other peopleís feelings into account. Singer likes to have people around him. He is imminently polite and is always taken aback when someone else is impolite. When the four people come over to see him at the same time, he is shocked to find them being rude to one another. Singer is actually quite naive about the separations of his society. He doesnít seem to have been conditioned at all in the racism so prevalent in the U.S. and especially in the Southern states. Biff Brannon notices in an earlier chapter that Singer doesnít find it at all improper to invite a young girl to sit with him and another adult man in an all night cafe. As much as he has seen the stories of these four people, he doesnít know them very well at all. If he did, he would know that they have conflicting personalities.


Singer has his own idol and here McCullers draws the one-way love affair between John Singer and Spiros Antonapoulos with broad strokes. After a few months of remembering the ten years they spent together with realism, the bad remembered with the good, now Singer only remembers the good parts of his time with Spiros. He has creatively constructed the figure of this man, willfully forgetting his limitations and his faults. Spiros canít read, but Singer "forgets" this fact and begins to write him long, passionate letters, something like confessions of all his thoughts and feelings and preoccupations. Singer is much like the four figures, the main difference being that he has a different god-figure in his life and that he is a much more devoted lover of his idol.

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